First Grade Overview
First grade is an exciting time for children.  It is a great adventure to open the world of reading and other formal skills up to our first grade students.  There is much growth that takes place during this first year of full time school.
Each school day the main focus is on God’s Word and what He has to teach us.  Our Christian Schools International (CSI) curriculum covers from creation to the early church. Each lesson has key verses that students look up and read together.  As a school we have quarterly memory work which is recited at both fall and spring concerts. We also participate in monthly elementary chapel services.
Language Arts
A large portion of each morning is spent learning to read using our Bob Jones reading program.  The goal of Bob Jones is to help children learn to read with understanding and appreciation so they will be able to read and obey the Scriptures.  We want to instill a lifelong love for reading.  Reading daily with their parents is also encouraged.
We also use a Bob Jones book for phonics and English instruction. Our language instruction emphasizes numerous phonics skills as well as proper sentence structure.  The main objective is accurate use of capital letter and ending punctuation marks. Students learn how to write in complete sentences. Writing is integrated throughout the day and incorporated in many subject areas.  Students share their own writings with the class. 
In spelling the first graders use the Abeka workbook. Students learn sound-letter relationships and to employ the phonetic principles of our language. There are helps for visual learners as well as exercises in learning the meaning of words and how to use them in sentences.  A spelling list is given weekly and students are tested at the end of the week.
First grade handwriting instruction reviews manuscript letter formations and then students begin learning the cursive alphabet.  Handwriting is important for self expression to others.  The students are encouraged to focus on neatness and do their best.
Oral Interpretation
In the spring the elementary students participate in a speech festival.  The first grade students each give a simple poem for their festival piece. 
Math instruction centers on addition and subtraction.  The students begin memorizing math facts with sums 0-18. It is important for each child to drill these facts at home with a parent.  This will help him or her memorize more quickly.  There will be additional units of discovery such as time, money, measurement, place value, geometry, and fractions.  Abeka math is the backbone of our math lessons.
Christian Schools International is a Bible based curriculum we use to teach not only scientific literacy but also knowledge of God.  The content covered in the first grade consists of the following: Scientific Investigations, Investigating Senses, Investigating Living Things, Investigating Changes, Investigating Materials, and Investigating Sound.
Heritage Studies
The first grade heritage studies emphasis is on patriotism and respect of our country.  Our textbook, Heritage Studies 1, is produced by Bob Jones Press and is entitled, “The New World, At Home in Early America”.  Through the text students will discover the New World along with Columbus, learn about the people who lived there first, and see how the new settlers built their homes and grew their own food.  They will also learn what churches and schools were like.  Each month the students also receive a copy of God’s World News.  It provides current news and interesting information for children - biblically, appropriately, and vibrantly - so they can grow in their understanding that God has the whole world in His hands. 
MVCA uses an art curriculum called Meet the Masters.  This program provides interactive, multi-media art education introducing students to such artists as Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh with a total of 35 master artists studied by the 6th grade.  Besides Meet the Masters students enjoy creating their own original projects each week.
Formal computer instruction in the computer lab is scheduled twice a week. Students develop skills on both laptops (Windows) and iPads (iOS).  MVCA utilizes an on-line computer curriculum designed to teach students essential grade-appropriate digital literacy skills.
Music instruction with a music teacher is scheduled twice each week.  The children are involved in two programs throughout the year including a Christmas musical and spring program.  MVCA students enjoy the Growing in Grace music curriculum.  Growing in Grace is age appropriate, thematic, and interactive.  With understandable texts, singable melodies, and interesting accompaniments, Growing in Grace helps each MVCA student develop his or her natural singing skills, increase in musical knowledge, and grow spiritually.
Physical Education
Physical education instruction with a teacher is scheduled twice each week.
First grade students visit the MVCA library weekly.  Students listen to a story and then have the chance to check out books.  MVCA utilizes an on-line library system to track books and parents are able to use this same system from home.
Special Events

First grade students take two scheduled field trips each year.  In the fall the whole school visits the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.  During the final month of school the first grade students travel to either Sioux City, IA or Brookings, SD.  In Sioux City they visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Sergeant Floyd Riverboat Museum. Brookings is home to the very interactive Children’s Museum of South Dakota.  Additional field trips that coincide with the first grade curriculum are taken throughout the school year.  Guest speakers are invited into the classroom to share their expertise as it relates to the first grade curriculum.  Other special events include Count Down to Christmas, Bookworm Contest in the spring, Math Facts Contest in April, and Field Day in May.

Note:  To adequately provide in-depth and complete knowledge of Bible, science, and heritage studies, these curriculums are alternated each year.  Meaning, the first grade curriculum will be used for instruction while the second grade curriculum is utilized the following year and vice versa.  By the end of the second grade students will have a solid, comprehensive, and enriched understanding of first and second grade content.  

  May 2018  
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